Because you’ll think this is about you.
And it is.
And it isn’t.
It’s about the guy that can’t figure himself out, or what he wants. The guy trying to get over his sorrows with sex, and use it as a symbol of triumph. The one who can’t convey his emotions and when he does, gives too much to view. The one who runs away when he realizes this. The guy who realizes the destruction he caused too late, and gives up on trying to regain his stance. The guy who doesn’t want to invest in another person. The one who’s heart is constantly broken. The guy who uses friendship as an excuse. The one that blames you.
The guy who tells you he’ll show up, and then doesn’t.
Says: “Stay by your phone”
But doesn’t answer your texts.
You wait around for your moment to be in his spot light, fifteen seconds of fame. At first you discuss your day, your life, playing catch up. Yet somewhere in there you lose your words, statements into questions and suddenly you’re silently nodding to his stories. You’ve connected the dots between his friends, learned their nicknames and followed their careers. He still questions who's in the photos on your wall.
Your friends ask how he’s doing, how you're doing. You used to know how he was, where he was… but maybe that’s because he always asked you first? Some sort of control to the situation I suppose, their own way of holding onto the small bit they have of you. Location services, shared Facebook destinations, geo-tags on Instagram, the “find my friends” app. Questioning your day as per his level of interest. Just another Tuesday warrants no effort. Out of town for the weekend? His own self-conscious behavior becomes erratic and obnoxious. But the sadist in him gets off on knowing he’s the topic of conversation. "So, what do your friends think of me being in your life?" Random pop ins to remind you he’s around, strut about like the taste of your lips don’t linger on his. Smells for your perfume like fresh cut grass. If eyes could focus like microscopes, he’d know details even you couldn’t identify.
There used to be confidence in your friendship, the kind of confidence that leaves you unworried about a flat tire or a mouse loose in your apartment. He’d fix it. Your inside jokes are the ones he’s forced upon you. TV shows he’s asked you to tune into and suddenly that’s all the conversation. I don't even like rom-coms... But you watch, slowly investing yourself into the little things he calls home. His favorite foods, movies, books. Grocery shopping reminds you of him, he hates tomatoes.
Someone once said, "We build our homes in the hearts of others, and when they leave, we are left homeless..." Cold and open to the elements, how do you protect yourself? How are you supposed to go on with your everything being carted away by someone who doesn’t appreciate its value?
You know no pain until you are the finest china in the cabinet; freshly polished and ready to be set. But a paper plate stands stiff in his hands, the dish of choice. More disposable than you, weaker and not as proper... but just as good in his eyes. Worth the repetitive investment of eventual trash.
You’ll coach your friends on the strength you’ve endured by developing meaningful relationships with people who leave you feeling meaningless.
How do you come back from that?
You’ll answer “barely”.
You’ll find peace in your novels, texts from your mom, long naps on crisp days. You’ll sleep like shit during the night and drink coffee you don’t finish during the day. You’ll ignore your phone, lose it almost always. No one’s texting you anyway. It goes off, and your reaction is always aggravation. Not for the bother, but for who it’s not.
You’ve replaced his name with pronouns and seek avoidance of his person. He’ll eventually become just another ghost to you, pictures to be pushed further on the timeline. You’ve done this before, this is just practice. This time you give yourself a B- (mainly because you’re angry and an A+ means minimal feelings and an incredible rebound time frame.)
What women don’t say is that the reason we keep your hoodies is because it’s cold out here, without a roof of comfort and support. We want to meet your parents because they show us how it’ll end. Fifty percent in divorce they say, did he just snap at your mom? We don’t want to fix you, we want you to fix yourself. We want you to want that for you. Truth is, we hate DIY projects. They take longer than they say, they’re only good for a season and eventually you’ll have to throw them out when they clutter up the place. More work than it's worth.
What we do say, is perfection. What we mean is work in progress. An SAT booklet, half filled out. Notations on the side. Pencil shoved in the binding, bent corners. Constantly revisited for practice. We don’t need the dream, we just need the reality.
And the reality is the guy isn’t perfect. He’s flawed and fucked up. Or so he thinks. Thinks the damage is irreparable. But the damaged ideals he shoves down his throat are forceful. Thinks an ex-girlfriend defines him. Like he’ll never wash off the stain she left on his skin. But he’s scrubbed so hard it’s raw and bloody, and he’s calling himself sick because he’s in pain. But the damage is all him. Like sliced wrists and bloody hands, self inflicted.
They are all works in progress, men that is. Still finding out that what they need isn’t necessarily a “woman”, but a person. A self-respecting, constant in their day to day life. Someone who not only always answers the phone, but calls just as much. Maybe a little more. Chicken soup and quiet offers of support via sexual affections. Sly smiles in response to masochist remarks. Questions that go unanswered and ignored phone calls on “guys night”. They want to know we give a shit, give more than them, because the idea of caring for someone more than they do for you, will destroy them.
It’ll destroy anyone.
But we do it… over and over again. Expecting the next time will be different as if that’s not the definition of insanity. But it technically isn’t. Because somewhere between mistake number 38 and 92, someone will give it right back to us as we have given all our everything so many times before. And we will think once more, they are worth dying for.
My mother once told me, "you need to fall in love with a man that loves you more than you love them." It’s painful and true, mainly because you can’t quite fathom loving someone half assed. And yet, that is all you’ve experienced, half effort and subpar “love” or what you may think it is.
And I’m still not sure what love is, or what it stands for. But I know what it’s not. It’s not breaking my back to save your wallet, it’s not hidden relationships and begged-for trust. It is not my death for your survival and it is not my pain for your pleasure.
For the guy that walks away from you for his own unrealistic ideals of a woman. The guy who criticizes your every move, outfit, eyelash. The guy who lies to defend his selfish actions. The one too afraid to pursue his own feelings in fear of his fame. The one that doesn’t pick you. The one that doesn’t deserve you. The one that hurts you, cries to you, begs you to stay, and then… disappears. The one too “fucked up” to see his future. The one who left you at the altar and the one who sat in the front row and watched. The one with the excuses. The one who inspired this.
This is about you.
Or maybe not.